Ernst, Murkowski support bipartisan framework to update Violence Against Women Act

U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) joined their Democratic colleagues in applauding a new bipartisan framework to reauthorize and update the Violence Against Women Act.

“After nearly three years of negotiations, we have reached an agreement on a bipartisan framework to strengthen, modernize and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA],” said the senators in a joint statement released on Dec. 16. “This important legislation will help prevent violence, support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable for their violent actions.”

Sen. Ernst and Sen. Murkowski were joined by U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in releasing the statement about the agreed upon framework, which includes provisions to bolster rape prevention and education efforts and services for survivors; expands access to emergency housing support for survivors; and authorizes expanded programs to ensure that the law provides access to survivors in rural areas, survivors requiring culturally specific services, LGBT survivors, and survivors who seek voluntary, community-based restorative practice services, according to a summary provided by the lawmakers.

Additionally, the framework provides support for legal services funding and trauma-informed law enforcement responses; ensures that individuals who are convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a dating partner are prohibited from possessing or purchasing firearms or ammunition; and improves the response to sexual violence, among other provisions, the summary says.

“We are committed to introducing a bipartisan, modernized VAWA reauthorization next month,” the senators said in their joint statement. “Every day that goes by without action puts lives at risk, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that this framework becomes law as soon as possible.”